Joe Gomez banished some demons against Manchester City on Sunday. The England defender needed it quite badly.
Joe Gomez probably wasn’t the standout defender against Manchester City. The returning Joel Matip was the star, as he stepped back in after a lay-off and kept City at bay.
But Gomez’s performance is the one that should put smiles on Liverpool faces.
He’s the key defender right now. Gomez is the only one who has been consistently fit, after all, with Matip struggling, Fabinho out, and Virgil van Dijk missing for the rest of the season.
Gomez, then, has pressure on him. He is the one Liverpool need at his best as he’s frequently leading the defence. Sometimes he has to lead it alongside Rhys Williams and Nathaniel Phillips – two very inexperienced players.
So the Liverpool staff would have had eyes on this game. It was Gomez, the new defensive leader, returning to a place he struggled badly in July.
One to forget
Liverpool went to the Etihad Stadium last season and lost 4-0. Now, they had just clinched the title – minds were elsewhere – but that doesn’t change the performance.
The Reds were terrible but Gomez, in particular, had one to forget. He was so bad that Jurgen Klopp removed him at half-time and moved Fabinho into defence.
That’s one that will surely haunt Gomez. Particularly as he returned there on Sunday.
It’s a massive relief, then, that the £3.5m man played well. He wasn’t the standout, as we say, but he was comfortable against City.
That’s a show of strong mentality that Liverpool needed as much as Gomez. If he’s a player the Reds will rely on, they can’t have him full of self-doubt.
But Gomez stood up, played well, and proved that he’s got what it takes to keep Liverpool’s defence strong this season.